Montez a mountain of a man

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

The first thing you notice about Montez Murphy is that he's a load. He's a massive mountain of a man.

The rookie defensive lineman stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 260 pounds.

"When I was a little guy, I was a little guy," said the 26-year-old Eskimos rookie.

"I mean, when I played Pop Warner, I was a little guy then. I didn't start growing until high school. That's when I had the real growth spurts."

The second thing you notice is that he can move. He can run surprisingly well for such a big guy.

"When I was a little guy I wasn't a fast little guy. I couldn't run. I never really learned to run until I got to college. When I look back, I wish I'd done track in high school.

"It would have helped me. In college they told me I had little choppy steps and if I learned how to run with longer steps I'd be much faster."

TOUGH ROOTS

Considering where Murphy grew up, you'd figure he'd have learned to run for survival. East St. Louis, Illinois has a reputation of being one of the toughest towns in the entire United States.

"There were a lot of challenges growing up there. There was a lot of drug dealing and people getting killed. But the Lord blessed me. Nobody bothered me at all. I think sports really helped. I loved sports. I think sports kept me out of trouble."

Despite his size he wasn't recruited by the big college teams or offered scholarships anywhere. He ended up attending junior college at Coffeyville, Kansas.

"It was a real small town," he said.

Finally he attracted the attention of a big school. He was being lined up by Kentucky.

"I was going to go there but then the head coach and his staff moved to Baylor so I went there with them."

A two-year letterman at Baylor, Murphy started 19 games, recorded 72 tackles including 14.5 of them for losses and 5.5 quarterback sacks, five forced fumbles and three knockdowns.

Murphy's position coach at Baylor was Don Wnek who just happens to be his defensive coach here.

"I was already headed here before I heard he was coming here," said Murphy.

Murphy didn't get drafted. The scouting report on him was: "Athletic edge rusher who can be a disruptive force. Fast, gets a lot of momentum going upfield and exploits immobile blockers.

"Quickly changes direction, displays speed to the flanks and makes plays down the line of scrimmage. Not strong. Can be driven off the line by tight ends. Does not consistently play with leverage."

NFL EXPERIENCE

The NFL teams were worried about the negatives. But the Green Bay Packers took him to training camp and he spent the year on the practice roster of the Kansas City Chiefs. And the positives of that scouting report would suggest the CFL would seem to be invented for Murphy.

"It's a much bigger field. You have to be more of an athlete to play here. You need to be able to change directions," he said. Having speed is one thing but getting up to speed is another.

"It's a really big adjustment," he said of the Canadian game. That extra yard off the ball takes some getting used to.

"That extra yard adds an extra second getting to the quarterback. It's going to take a while to get there.

"I came here because I just want to play. I came here for an opportunity at camp. I made the team. Everything worked out.

"Now I want to make all the adjustments and show them they made the right decision with me."


Videos

Photos